Please welcome the wonderful Barbara Monajem back to the blog. Barbara is here to day to tell you about her latest book, To Kiss a Rake!! She will also give away one copy to one of you who tells her you want it!
As always, we’ll start with the cover!
Now the blurb.
A perfect lady with a secret.
A rake with a code of honor.
The scandal of the season…
And a very inconvenient marriage.
I’m beginning to think the Marriage of Convenience trope should be divided into two – the truly convenient marriages made for financial or social reasons, and the forced marriages, which usually come about through some mishap or other. The fun of this trope, either way, is that usually the couple are obliged to go through their courtship after they marry. They have no choice, and having no choice is often what is needed to make people change and grow.
Here’s the blurb of To Kiss a Rake, which is up for pre-order now and comes out July 29th.
WHEN A LADY IS ABDUCTED BY MISTAKE…
Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly helping with an elopement, when she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.
REVENGE REALLY DOESN’T PAY.
Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.
Except that he drives off with the wrong woman…and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.
And here’s an excerpt:
Setup: Melinda Starling was abducted by mistake and is now being returned home by her abductor. She falls asleep in the carriage.
Melinda dreamed she was safe in the arms of a truly wonderful man. He adored her with a passion that knew no bounds; she loved him with all her heart. The swaying of the coach pressed them together. She inhaled his warm, male scent and snuggled closer, savoring the way her breast rubbed against his arm. She ached for the pressure of his lips on hers, yearning, yearning… She always woke before her dream lover kissed her.
Not this time. His lips were warm and soft, his breath hot and laced with brandy. Her lips parted instinctively beneath his, and she heard herself give a little moan of pleasure. The tip of his tongue slipped between her lips and touched hers.
The coach came to a halt. Her eyes fluttered open as she woke. The obnoxious lord who’d sworn he wouldn’t touch her broke the kiss, still holding her in his arms. She shoved at him, but he held fast.
“How dare you?” she cried.
The interior of the coach was still cloaked in gloom, but dawn was well on the way. She caught a glimpse of amused eyes before he pulled the brim of his hat over his face. “You fell asleep and slid right into my arms,” he said, his calm voice feeding her rage. “I couldn’t resist.”
She wiped a hand across her mouth. “I was—I was—” She couldn’t get the words out. She’d been saving her first kiss for the man she would marry, and this dastardly person had stolen it.
Thank God she was home. She wrenched herself from his arms just as the groom opened the door. She tumbled out of the coach without waiting for the steps, gathered the skirts of her costume, and ran up the pavement to the house.
She lifted the knocker and rapped it hard against the door, and rapped it again. And waited, shivering in the chill dawn wind, her arms tight about herself. Hurry!
No one answered. The servants must be asleep, but surely Grandmama would have left someone on watch for her. She knocked once again. And waited.
Silence, but for the shuffling of the horses, the barking of a dog, and the rumble of a wagon in the next street. London was coming to life.
She turned, anxious now. Why did the coach still wait? “You needn’t stay any longer. Someone will wake up and let me in.”
“Someone should already be awake and waiting,” the man said irritably from within the coach. He didn’t give the order to leave.
Melinda rapped again. What was going on? She thought she heard a sound within the house, thought she heard a voice, and knocked once more… Nothing. This was ghastly. She had to get indoors before someone saw her.
“Miss Starling, are you sure this is the right house?” The man who’d kissed her was framed in the coach window, his hat low over his brow once again.
“Of course I’m sure. Why don’t they answer?”
“Try the area stairs,” he suggested softly.
She’d never gone in by the servants’ entrance, but it was a good idea, the sort she would usually think of herself, but she couldn’t get her mind to work properly. She lifted the latch and hurried down the steep, winding stairs, shivering now from anxiety as much as the chill dawn air. She banged hard on the door. It was close to the housekeeper’s room, so surely that kindly woman would hear.
From inside the house came a furious bellow. “No! Do not open that door.”
Melinda froze. That was Grandma’s voice. She was…ordering the housekeeper not to let Melinda inside.
Her shiver became a tremble. She stumbled up the steep, narrow stairs and through the gate. She gaped at the dark house, her home, its curtains drawn like the blank eyes of a statue, cold and forbidding and utterly silent again.
“Damn,” the man who had kissed her said. “What the devil is going on?”
The sky lightened, and it finally dawned on Melinda. Grandmama wasn’t going to let her in. She’d been turned away from her own home.
“Did I hear her say not to open the door to you?” the man asked in a low, disbelieving voice.
Melinda blinked back hot, horrified tears and faced him, away from the house and the grandmother who had always wanted to be rid of her. “She used to threaten to wash her hands of me,” she said. “And now she has done it.”
I grew up on the west coast of Canada among the mountains and cedar trees. I’m not much into putting down roots–I love moving around–but roots have minds of their own. Mine go deep into those mountains and are entwined with the cedars, and no matter where I live, there’s a part of me that always, always longs for home. It’s a magic place which never lets go, and that’s all there is to it. I’m pretty sure that magic is what started me writing paranormals, because I wrote my first at only eight years old.
I lived in Oxford, England for a year when I was twelve, and I have roots there, too, but they’re mostly cultural. My ancestors are English, with some Scots and Irish farther back. Oxford is heavy with the magic of centuries. I loved it there–everything from playing twosy-ball against the school wall, to helping out at an archaeological dig, to spending my pocket money in Blackwell’s bookshop. I think it’s that year in England, coupled with all the Brit lit I read as a child, that inspired me to write historicals. My foray into teen melodrama, best forgotten, also sprang from that year in England.
I spent several years in Montreal, and now and then I miss the winters–they’re long, but nothing beats the cold, bright, silent magic of a winter’s night. And the French spoken all around me–I miss that, too. Sometime during the years in Quebec and on into the move to Georgia, I started writing paranormals again, in the form of fantasy for my kids. This resulted in my middle grade novel, The Secret of the Stolen Mandolin.
I live in Georgia and spend a lot of time in south Louisiana, so now I have roots in the southern U.S. as well. I love the dense, humid air (well, usually), the lightning bugs and kudzu (so spooky), the live oaks and resurrection fern. On my first trip to Louisiana, I succumbed to the magic of New Orleans. I love it all: Bourbon Street, beignets and the levee, the Mardi Gras parades, the spicy food and hot nights, the dark and lovely moods of the French Quarter, and the swamps to the north. New Orleans is my inspiration for the funky little town of Bayou Gavotte, with its fetish clubs… and vampires… and who knows what else.